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Career Options

A degree in anthropology prepares students for a wide range of professional and postgraduate opportunities.  That's because a degree in anthropology is a degree in people.  It's a degree that focuses on cultural diversity (past and present), on human experience, and on the inner workings of human social institutions.  Anthropology provides analytical skills and organizational perspectives that equip students for survival and success in the job market. 

Anthropology graduates may choose from a broad range of career possibilities. While many graduates are employed as cultural anthropologists or archaeologists, others use their anthropological skills in a variety of professions. At the moment the job market for anthropologists is expanding. For example, there are many openings for archaeologists at all levels in both government organizations and private environmental monitoring companies. 

Graduates contemplating careers in college teaching and in senior positions in cultural resource management are normally required to have at least a master's degree. For university teaching, a Ph.D. is usually required.

The following list illustrates just some of the available career opportunities:

  • Archaeologist -- State and Federal Agencies: For example, National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, California State Parks, California State Department of Water Resources, National Parks Service, Soil Conservation Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Caltrans.
  • Archaeologist -- Private industry: Cultural resource management consultants; environmental impact assessment and environmental monitoring firms.
  • Anthropologists (including archaeology) -- Governmental and other organizations: For example, U.S. Peace Corps; United Nations; Aid organizations; U.N. High Commission for Refugees; Bureau of Indian Affairs; California Youth Authority; state tourist authorities.
  • Anthropologists (including archaeology) -- Museum curators and directors.
  • Anthropologists (including archaeology) -- Teaching at high schools and community colleges.

Anthropology careers are as varied as the individual's chosen area of expertise within the major, some of which may require cross-disciplinary training:  For example, psychological anthropologists, medical anthropologists, economic anthropologists, legal anthropologists and so on. Applied cultural anthropologists work in related careers in international businesses, multinational organizations, government departments, non-government organizations, medical and health settings, legal and criminal justice settings, educational settings, environmental agencies, political anthropology, and media-related settings.

For on-campus resources, visit the Office of Community Engagement or the Career Development Center.